Posted by: littletoe | December 29, 2007

Confessions of a Converting Protestant

I have been running away from my blog and having fun spinning and knitting—things that I knew would always compete with time for blogging. Spinning some new alpacaChristmas vacation is almost over and soon I’ll be back to home schooling and have neither time for blogging nor for knitting and spinning, so I thought I’d get in a thought or two before it’s over.

I’m sure many Protestants who are on their way home to Rome have feelings like this, but I am starting to crave what I would call quintessential Catholicism and I’m starting to feel disdain for any form of Catholicism that looks Protestant. Maybe its because I have unresolved anger issues about the lies and half-truths I was told as a Protestant. I have watched videos online of Tridentine Latin Masses and, though I would be tremendously uncomfortable visiting one just because it is so unfamiliar, I crave it. I’m starting to feel more and more like the parish I attend now is not for me.

I feel like the most awful hypocrite, though. I still remember the first day I walked into our church. I knew immediately that it was ‘home.’ We had visited some breakaway Anglican Churches and some Lutheran Churches and finally, here it was. I could feel the sincerity of the worshippers around me, the choir was good, the music was good and they had the best youth program in the diocese. What more could I want?

Well, as I’ve journeyed along I’ve come to believe that worship is not about any of those things that mattered to me when we visited our first Catholic Church. And that leaves me with many troubling questions in my heart. Do we need parishes like mine that are very “contemporary” to draw people in? Is the older form of worship so anachronistic that it would alienate the average American whereas two thousand years ago it wouldn’t have seemed so weird to a Greek pagan? How would we disciple people in our culture into the TLM? Do we need to have a progression of mass types available so that the spiritual babies can go to a contemporary Novus Ordo Mass and the spiritual grown-ups can go to the Latin Mass? If the Latin Mass had been all there were, I don’t think I would have become Catholic. I would have needed to have a friend or maybe the priest show me the ropes and help me to understand and to know what I was seeing. I would have run screaming in the other direction a year ago. Am I turning into a Catholic snob?

Although I crave the more traditional expression, I really don’t want to be a snob. I have been unfailingly impressed by the humility of the Catholics I have met. Such a contrast to the Protestant circles I used to be part of. I don’t want to bring that false sense of superiority with me as I swim the Tiber. God have mercy on me!

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Responses

  1. Personally, while I admire the Tridentine Mass, and have no issues with people who like it, *I would simply prefer that the current Mass be done properly and reverently*. I think a lot of the appeal of the Tridentine Mass is that these parishes are often full of committed, purposeful, Catholics who worship reverently. Your average Catholic parish usually isn’t this way, and is, unfortunately, as you describe.

    At Christmas, the new priest at my old parish (“old” simply because I moved 90 miles because of work) implemented some Latin chant into the Mass. He has been slowly “undoing” some of the stuff the parish embraced during the 1970s, architecturally and liturgically, although we are not moving toward the Tridentine mass, but towards the way the Novus Ordo is supposed to be implemented.

  2. Hello Rachel,

    Clearly there are differences btwn the Novus Ordo “regular” rite and the 1962 Extra-ordinary latin mass. Depending on what you look or who you listen too, you can get varing extremes on the topic. As a Cradle Catholic myself who went through all those changes after Vat. II I think I have a pretty balanced view on the matter. If your interested -here’s a piece I wrote on the topic http://quickbeamoffangorn.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/latin-liturgical-antiquarianism-vs-the-spirit-of-vatican-ii/

    I wish you well in your journey.

    Blessings,

    tom

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog, Tom. I checked out your article and really enjoyed your perspective. I think if the NO mass were celebrated the way I believe was intended to be based on what I’ve read in V-II documents I wouldn’t desire the Latin Mass so intensely. I agree with you about the plenary indulgence for having to subject yourself to the “contemporary” music. Ironically, it’s not contemporary for my kids and they can’t stand it!


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